War on Waste – Organic Matter Bins and Lane Cove Council

This week the War on Waste featured the Penrith City Council and the steps they have taken to reduce landfill and recycle organic matter.  In the Cove has been flooded with people asking why Lane Cove Council does not offer the same system.


Lane Cove residents has always been at the forefront of the war on waste and the Lane Cove Sustainability Action Group has been a leader in environmental stewardship.

According to the Lane Cove Council website, Lane Cove residents throws away 19 tonnes of rubbish every day. On average, 40% of rubbish sent to land fill is food waste. Lane Cove Council recommends composting your food scraps or using a worm farm.

Instead of throwing all your lawn clippings and leaves into the Green Bin, you can place them in your compost bin to help balance the mix of food scraps!

Lane Cove Council previously worked with Compost Revolution to make it easier for the community to learn how to compost and use worm farm. Residents were entitled to receive a free compost bin or worm farm, all they needed to pay was a small delivery charge.  This programme is no longer operating. However if you go to the Compost Revolution website they will offer you a 40% discount on compost bins and worm farms.

In 2016, In the Cove noticed Woollahra Council had a ‘Kitchen to Compost’ service which allowed food scraps to be placed into the green garden bin along with garden refuse. Woollahra introduced this service to reduce greenhouse emissions as well as help to reduce the amount of waste they were sending to landfill by almost half!  It was an easy system as all residents had to do was place food scraps into their existing green garden wheelie bin along with garden refuse for recycling.

Penrith City Council offers a dedicated organics bin.  They will even provide you with Kitchen Tidy Bin and compostable bags to make collecting food stuffs even easier.

How is Lane Cove Council Reducing Landfill?

Lane Cove Council will NOT be offering a dedicated organic matter bin.

Lane Cove Council, along with four other councils in the Northern Sydney Region, send the content of redlidded waste bins to a purpose-built Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at Woodlawn, south of Sydney.

The facility is managed by Veolia who are responsible for transforming the waste from red-lidded bins in Lane Cove into useful compost for environmental rehabilitation. Based on waste audit data, it is expected that approximately 50-60% of the waste received will be diverted from landfill. After the organic material is recovered and converted into compost, remaining waste is delivered to a bioreactor for further energy recovery.

This waste processing technology requires a certain percentage of waste in the red bin to be organic to assist with the composting that is processed. This contributes to Council’s current waste diversion rate of 64% on average per month.

The diagram below explains how the system converts waste into compost which is then used in the mine rehabilitation of the former Woodlawn mine, near Goulburn.


The Woodlawn facility has prioritised sustainable and innovative waste management practices including:

  • 7 landfill gas engines that recover up to 7 megawatts of clean energy from what would otherwise be gas-emitting waste material.
  • Agriculture incorporating a working farm that applies nutrient and grazing rotation to help manage and understand impacts on the site.
  • Aquaculture and horticulture capturing waste heat from energy production and using it for fish farming and hydroponic horticulture
  • Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) extracting organic content from the waste to produce compost for environmental rehabilitation.
  • Windfarm (operated by Infigen Energy) that harnesses 48.3 megawatts of clean energy per year.
  • Solarfarm utilising increased sun exposure from cleared land to produces 2.5 megawatts of clean energy per year.

How has this improved Lane Cove Landfill Diversion Rate?

Since July 2017 a minimum of 40% of waste in residential garbage bins has been processed into compost, rather than going to landfill as a result of waste being processed at the MBT. In June 2018 Lane Cove achieve a diversion rate of 62% for the month with 242 tonnes of waste being processed. During June 2018, 383 tonnes of recyclable containers, paper and cardboard, metals and green waste were also diverted from landfill.




Food waste should NOT be put into green-lidded vegetation bins. The green bin is for garden prunings and grass clippings. This material is processed at a facility in Ryde where it is made into garden ready compost/mulch. It’s essential the green lidded bin is free of food waste.

Lane Cove Council has received a number of enquiries from residents who weren’t aware they are able to dispose of waste in their red-lidded bin without garbage/plastic bags. If you are interested in reducing the amount of plastic in your waste bin, consider using alternatives such as wrapping your waste in paper or disposing items directly into the bin.

If you have any other questions about waste and recycling, you can contact Council’s Waste Management team on  9911 3555 or via [email protected]

Willoughby City Council

Some Lane Cove North residents are located in the Willoughby City Council area.  Willoughby City Council uses the same system as Lane Cove Council.  Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney explained the system in plain English on her Facebook Page.


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